We are so happy to welcome JP Barnaby with us here today at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews, where she is going to give us some insider gossip on behind the scenes In the Absence of Monsters.
In the Absence of Monsters Behind the Scenes
The Transition of the Forbidden Room series to In the Absence of Monsters
I’ll admit it, right here in front of my entire Internet audience, I’m in love with Master Ethan. Every time someone asks who my “book boyfriend” is, I can’t help but think of him first. He was and is my most complex character, and the one I’ve poured every bit of my heart and soul into. Ethan has been with me since the very beginning, since before Brian and Jamie, and long before Aaron and Spencer. Originally written as fanfiction for a fandom to which it had absolutely no relation, its first incarnation came as two self-published novels starting in December 2009 when my publishing career started. I held Ethan so closely to me that I didn’t trust anyone to edit or publish him because I didn’t want him to lose his essence.
So, why trust Wilde City?
Several factors came into play with the transition of these books to traditional publication. First, I met Jake Driver, who in my head and in my heart resembles Master Ethan so closely, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show him to the world. Then, I met him in person and found him to be warm, engaging, and kind and knew. He is my Master Ethan. Next, in order to develop the additional books in my head, I needed to move the series to traditional publication. While I have the graphics and formatting resources, I do not have adequate editing resources. As I have found by experience, self-published books are held to a higher standard. Find three editing mistakes in a big New York published book, and it’s fine. Find three editing mistakes in self-published novel, and it’s crap. I know several self-published authors who do very well on that route, it’s just not one I wanted to take again.
So, when Wilde City approached me about publishing the Forbidden Room series, I sat and thought long and hard about it. First, Wilde City is strictly an M/M publisher, so the series would need to be changed. The Forbidden Room especially is M/M/F ending in M/F. Even if Wilde City wanted to take the chance on the first book when the second book ended M/M, I know that fans of the genre wouldn’t. In order to make the project truly work, the books needed to be combined, and edited—a huge undertaking. Together, the books were nearly 180,000 words. So, I got to work, scaling back Lexi’s role, removing scenes of obvious author masturbation, and shoring up the rest. Over the last four years, my writing has become very concise. I’m not one to describe every blade of the grass the characters make love in, just the fact that the grass tickles their skin is enough.
With the book whittled down to an impressive 146,000 words, I took it to Wilde City, along with the free short story The Perfect Tree, and they were excited. From prior experience with the publisher, I was not surprised to get Kris Jacen as my editor, who knew of my attachment to Master Ethan, and promised to take good care of him. It helped that she had met Jake Driver at GRL so she could get him into her head as she edited, just as I had him in my head as I wrote.
The venture was successful, and the book has come together in an epic BDSM novel with depth, experience, and strongly defined themes. So, I ask that you let Ethan and Jayden into your hearts, and take very good care of them. They’ve earned it.
Enjoy the ride.
In The Absence of Monsters by JP Barnaby
Publisher ~ Wilde City Press
Genre ~ BDSM Erotic Romance M/M/F
Released ~ 22nd January 2013
Rating ~ 4.5 Stars
Jayden Carter knew the path he wanted his life to take. He wanted to get his Master’s Degree in History and teach. But when he answered an ad for a roommate and met mysterious doctor, Ethan Bryant, he’s brought into a world he never knew existed and his path changes.
It changes again for Jayden and he leaves Ethan with their friend, Lexi, in tow. Ethan loses himself in a haze of self-destruction and pain. With the help of a childhood friend, Gabriel, Ethan battles the demons of his childhood and finds a way to survive. Gabriel and Jayden wage an epic war for Ethan, but in the end, they may all end up losing.
Adapted from The Forbidden Room and A House of Cards: Deconstructing Ethan
JP Barnaby is a writer of immense talent, she gets to the heart and soul of the characters, where you become full immersed in their lives and can empathise with them emotionally… I went through the wringer with them all and experienced every emotion possible. It’s not a comfortable read, and at times you will feel as though your heart couldn’t possibly break any more, it’s a tragic tale, powerful and intense with all of them at some point or another broken, with none more so than Ethan.
The first half of the book is told from Jayden’s POV, he is straight and has no knowledge of what he was getting into with Ethan or the lifestyle that it involves. We see him debating his confusion, trying to weigh up his mental attitude and his own bodies reaction to his fascination with the thought of submission to Ethan. In his mind Jayden was straight so was he now gay? and why was his body embracing it and his mind rejecting it? Why did he have an overwhelming need to want to be dominated, enjoying the humiliation and debasement? …part of him was overwhelmed by the shame but at the same time his body was singing… and it was slowly pulling him apart… all of which compounded his confliction over the growing feelings he was experiencing for Ethan, along with the guilt and turmoil he feels he has inflicted on his family for his choices.
I have to admit, at first I didn’t like Ethan, through Jayden’s eye’s we see a detached character, impossible to read, cold and clinical, a Master Dom with two submissive's in training but no emotional attachment to them or the scene’s… or so we think! Because the second half of the book is Ethan’s story and it’s not pretty. Ethan is a lost soul so broken by his tragic past, he has been too afraid to confront the demons that haunt him with Lexi and Jayden being the catalyst for it finally catching up with him. The natural progression of them moving on, see his resolve fall apart, alone he has no channel for the control that has for so long kept him grounded. The walls he had built to protect himself had crumbled and his carefully constructed persona cracked. Ethan had opened his heart to feelings and emotions he had never experienced, having no bench mark from which to understand them… Love was an unfamiliar emotion to Ethan, one he was unable to comprehend, one he had never been schooled in and intimacy scared the shit out of him. The outcome of which is the painful, gut wrenching fall into the abyss of self destruction.
In the middle of this we have Lexi, who as a character is sweet and kind and is the glue that holds them all together and you can’t help but like her… but in my mind, she was getting in the way of Jayden and Ethan, which became incredibly frustrating. It wasn’t even anything she did intentionally because she loved them both, however she was “In love” with Jayden. But, she was aware of the connection and the unspoken love between the two men, something neither of them could comprehend because of their struggles with their sexual identity. I couldn’t help but wonder if subconsciously and through omission rather than purpose she had left them both in the dark. I also have to admit that their playing together made me uncomfortable… I didn’t want her there, I just wanted Ethan and Jayden to be together, because of course I am the reader and can see what they both feel and it was all making me feel anxious.
This is an incredibly moving journey, full of pain and heartache that only builds as each piece of their lives is laid open before us and just like Ethan and Jayden I too was a mass of confliction and confusion. My heart was hurting… over their decisions, actions and reactions, lack of communication, jealousy! They are far from perfect and frustrated the hell out of me, loving and disliking them both at some point in the book. They are broken, complex and have all kinds of shit thrown at them, where you think that they will take the fall and never get back up again… but it was their love, learning and understanding the intimacy of it and just how profound that emotion was to them that crushed me, such a beautiful thing, yet so hard for some to grasp and fully embrace through a multitude of fears and anxieties… especially when these two men had actually fallen in love that first day that Ethan opened the door to Jayden.
The Absence of Monsters is a BDSM novel, and the scenes are powerful and intensely erotic, there has obviously been a lot of research and preparation involved in writing this novel to get it right. JP Barnaby built an explicit picture in my mind as though I were there in the playroom with them during their scene’s, it felt almost voyeuristic and the tension was palpable! However, It is so much more than just the act of sex and release… it is the exploration of the power exchange, the submission and domination and the emotional impact it has on the characters, it is a voyage of discovery for them all. Amazing author! Excellent book! READ IT!!!
For the main part this book is M/M as Jayden and Ethan are the two main MC’c but there is also a third in the scene’s and that is Lexi, so some of this book is also M/M/F.
About JP Barnaby
Award winning romance novelist, J. P. Barnaby has penned over a dozen books including the Working Boys series, the Little Boy Lost series, In the Absence of Monsters, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.
JP Barnaby will be gifting one lucky winner a Kindle Fire and a $100 Wilde City Press download code… just enter your details in the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.
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